Prince Charles made a trip to the Nissan factory in Sunderland to take a look at the production of the Nissan Leaf, a 100 per cent electric car, and learn about job creation programme the Nissan Skills Foundation.
The royal has had a long standing relationship with the plant that goes back to 1986. Back then, he took part in a traditional Japanese Daruma ceremony, which marked the start of production at the Sunderland plant that had been newly constructed. He also rode in one of Nissan’s ground-breaking electric vehicles when he visited the brand’s Zama plant.
Since those days, there has been more research in electric vehicle technology and Prince Charles got to see the results of those in the Nissan Leaf, which has become the best selling electric car in history. The Prince of Wales also met a number of employees and apprentices that are involved in the project.
Commenting on the prince’s visit, chairman of Nissan Europe Paul Wilcox said: “We were honoured to receive a visit from The Prince of Wales.”
“With a keen, lifelong interest in sustainability, His Royal Highness was interested to see LEAF production as well as hear about Sunderland’s achievements as one of the UK’s most successful car plants.”
After the Prince of Wales had a tour of the production line he got to see Nissan’s Global Training Centre, which makes up part of Gateshead College’s Skills Academy for Sustainability, Manufacturing and Innovation. Here, Prince Charles was shown some of the school’s engagement activities by Nissan vice president of manufacturing Kevin Fitzpatrick. These activities form the Nissan Skills Foundation.
The foundation was set up to encourage young people to consider careers in manufacturing and engineering, using things like Formula One and electric vehicles.
Mr Fitzpatrick explained: “As one of the region’s largest employers it’s important that Nissan take a lead role. I was delighted for the opportunity to show The Prince of Wales just some of the activities that we offer the region’s schools.”
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